Introducing the Book VIVEKANANDA
HIS GOSPEL OF MAN-MAKING With a Garland of Tributes & A Chronicle of His Life & Times With Pictures
Sixth Edition Commemorating the th 150 Birth Anniversary of Swamiji (2013) 1000 + Pages Hard Bound Multi-colour Jacket 80 B & W Photos ISBN 81-85304-66-1
CONTENTS 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9.
Benediction: 2-4 Prologue: 5 What is ‘Man-making’?: 7 An Overview of the Book: 9 Contents at a Glance: 10 A Synoptic View of the Book: 12 Review Excerpts: 37 Milestones in the Publication: 41 The Author: 43
Benediction SWAMI DAYANANDA SARASWATI ARSHA VIDYA GURUKULAM
PO Box 1059 Saylorsburg, PA 18353-1059 USA Ph: 570-992-2339 Fax: 570-992-7150/9167 October 19, 2011
Swami Vivekananda is looked upon by an informed Indian as a person who enshrined in himself all that is true and noble of the spiritual heritage of Bharath. His vision to make everyone see the beauty of oneness, love and harmony, backed by his tireless efforts to actualize it, is getting unfolded all over the world not only through the Mission and Order he founded but also through various other individuals and institutions who owe to Swamijiâ€&#x;s vision for their inspiration. Swami Jyotirmayananda, an ardent follower of the great monk, having spent his entire life reading the works of Swami Vivekananda has given us a big book containing everything worth knowing about Sri Swami Vivekananda. Covering the historical background of his every inspiring speech, the book puts you to be a part of the audience addressed by the Swami. Tributes from all those who counted during Vivekananda's time presented in this book help us identify ourselves with their thoughts and realize the profundity of the Swamiâ€&#x;s thinking. I wish the new edition, produced by Sudarsan Graphics, becomes a valuable addition to every personal and public library in India and elsewhere.
Swami Dayananda -2-
Benediction SWAMI TATTVAVIDANANDA ARSHA VIDYA GURUKULAM
PO Box 1059 Saylorsburg, PA 18353-1059 USA Ph: 570-992-2339 Fax: 570-992-7150/9167 24 Nov. 2011
From the historical perspective, Swami Vivekananda‟s life and times marked a significant turning point. In the annals of Indian History the period between 500 B.C. and 500 A.D. is considered as the „Golden Age‟, when the society flourished under the benevolent rule of prominent emperors like Ashoka and Chandragupta, and when there were eminent statesmen like Chanakya, poet Kalidasa, sages like Buddha, Shankara and Mahavira, and great astronomers like Aryabhatta and Varahamihira. Every society has its ebb and flow, and the Hindu society is not an exception. And so came the medieval period and along with it the decline of Hinduism and the Hindu society. It was during this dark period that Mohammed Ghazni invaded India and destroyed the famous and sacred Somnath Temple. The invasions continued with other Moghuls like Mohammed Ghori following suit. Aurangazeb, a descendant of these invaders, was a notorious and fanatical Muslim who ruled India for a long time. Finally, the Moghul rule ended with Bahadur Shah Zafar. With trade as an excuse, the British, Dutch and Portuguese landed on the Indian soil and fought among themselves for sovereignty over India. The British came out the victors and made India their most important colony. The decline in Hinduism saw the rising of some of the reprehensible practices like sati and untouchability, bringing disrepute to -3-
the Hindu religion and society. Widely prevalent at this very time, were Spanish inquisition in European Christianity and slavery in North America. During this period, there were also some positive events in the Hindu society. The advent of Swami Vivekananda ushered in the renaissance of Hindu religion. The epochmaking event when he addressed the World‟s Parliament of Religions in Chicago went a long way in reviving the Hindu religion. Swamiji highlighted the essence of religion in a few words: “Each soul is potentially divine. The goal is to manifest this Divinity within by controlling nature external, and internal. Do this either by work or worship or psychic control or philosophy – by one or more or all of these – and be free. This is the whole of religion….” It is interesting to note that the renaissance took place, not in India but outside the country, in the West. Later, the path shown by Vivekananda was followed by his brother disciple Swami Abhedananda and others like Swami Ramatirtha. These great men brought the message of Sanatana Dharma to the rest of the world and placed the Hindu philosophy of the Upanishads and the Gita on the world stage. Back in India, this had a salutary effect on Hindus who were ashamed of their religion and culture. They got back their pride in their culture and philosophy once again. I am certain that the new edition of Swami Jyotirmayananda‟s monumental work on Swami Vivekananda in the context of his 150th Birth Anniversary (2013) would motivate the readers to study Vivekananda in depth and be blessed thereby.
Swami Tattvavidananda -4-
PROLOGUE The main concern of the world today is peace and harmony. The path that the world has until now traversed in pursuit of technological mastery has imperilled peace. If peace and harmony are to rise and reign in the hearts and minds of people, they should have an opportunity to be exposed to the revealing insights of spirituality, which Swami Vivekananda has bequeathed to humanity. Hence, the propagation of his spiritual teachings is the most important means of serving that divine mission. The more the life and teachings of the great Swamiji are made known, the more will the spiritual perspective of humanity be widened, thereby paving the way for enduring world peace everyone is hankering for.
Vivekananda – A Bridge between the East and West, And a Harbinger of Peace Swami Vivekananda is verily a bridge between the East and the West. He is in fact a dynamic spiritual force to shape the future of humanity. His teachings have set in motion a spiritual force, which can eventually bring into the Western civilization the much needed qualitative change. Indeed, Vivekananda is a harbinger of peace unto the woebegone humanity.
Emergence of a New World “The mystics have seen that not till we master the know-how of transforming our human impulses and reactions can we hope to redeem the pitiful state of the world. This pitiful state of our world is but a projection of a dreadful inner disharmony. The New World must come from within and not from without – so the best way is not to be too much preoccupied with the lamentable things that are happening outside, but to grow within so that one may be ready for the New World whatever form it may take”.
Vivekananda’s Dynamic Influence on Societies and Individuals Swami Vivekananda's influence on societies and individuals can be classified into: his impact as a teacher of Vedanta; his -5-
stress on the practice of religion of service, based on equality and tyaga; his role as an awakener, builder and organizer of modern India with its patriotic, spiritual and service movements; his contribution as a cultural and spiritual emissary of India to the West; his work as an interpreter of Indian values in the universal language of science; and his influence in taming and unifying science itself.
His Contributions to Humanity This volume comprising five parts is a humble attempt to acquaint the reader with some of these contributions of Swamiji to humanity. Besides, it presents a diary of significant events in his life and times, a glimpse of his scintillating divine personality, a taste of his powerful and clear language of electrifying impact, and a rare example of his utter humility when he traces all that is good in him and all that he could accomplish in too-short a span of time to the grace of his Great Master, Sri Ramakrishna, in whose hallowed name he set in motion a mighty Movement for the well-being and spiritual enlightenment of the mankind. Finally, the book enables the reader to see Swamiji visually through pictures. It presents a selection of eighty photographs projecting a tapestry-like a visual review of the evolution of Naren into Vivekananda the prophet of â€žAwakened Indiaâ€&#x;. An exhaustive list of over two hundred books by and on Swami Vivekananda is appended to the book for reference and further study.
His Lasting Gift to the World Humanity has not yet opened fully the gift it has received from Sri Ramakrishna, the gift of the advent and work of Swami Vivekananda. We can only envy the future world, which will be delighted and blessed with this gift which it is ready to receive but slow to uncover.
WHAT IS 'MAN-MAKING'? (Excerpts from the Book) Swami Vivekananda said: “Man-making is my mission of life. I am not a politician, nor am I a social reformer. It is my job to fashion man…I care only for the spirit: when that is right, everything will be righted by itself.” „Man-making‟! This Swamiji spoke as his „New Gospel‟, applying it not only to sannyasins, not only to Indians, but in its most profound sense, to men and women everywhere. Indeed, to make men and to teach the highest truth constituted in Swamiji‟s language one and the same mission – and this mission, to his mind, formed the central task of his life on earth. Manliness! Swamiji meant a great deal by that term. Manliness, in his view, emanated from the atman, permeating the whole empirical man – body, senses, mind, heart and will. To have the quality of manliness was to be established in the Self, to rejoice in the Self, to want nothing, to fear nothing, to dislike nothing, to love and serve all. Only spiritually free and strong men and women, taking their stand on the Self – the atman – can truly deify this world, can truly revere it and work in it tirelessly, without desire or fear, motivated by love alone. And, only such men and women can meet the unprecedentedly terrible challenge of this age. „Man-making‟: This really means rousing the purblind human race to an awareness of its innate spiritual strength and essential divine nature. Human beings are by no means inheritors of any original „sin‟, but, truly „amrtasya putrah‟, children of immortality. Such is Vedanta's Magna Carta for humanity.
„Man-making‟ was Swamiji‟s main pre-occupation, for, he believed in such a free, fearless man of character, enlightenment and love lay the hope of the world. Transformation of man is the only solution for all the ills in the society. 'Man-making‟ indeed constitutes the purport and aim of all his utterances. „Man-making‟ meant for Vivekananda, rousing man to an awareness of his essential divine nature, making him rely always on his innate spiritual strength. Let man/woman remember his/her true nature – Divinity (sat-chitananda). Let it become a living realization and everything else will follow – power, strength, manhood / womanhood. Swami Vivekananda‟s message of the essential Divinity of the human spirit as the main radiating source of all spiritual values is the one teaching that can purge religions of exclusiveness and fanaticism, and thereby re-fit them to fulfil their spiritual mission. All theologies, rituals and dogmas have nothing sacrosanct in themselves, but are to be valued to the extent they can help man realize and manifest the Divinity latent in him. Harmony and mutual goodwill in the context of religious plurality is possible only in the light of such a universal philosophy that Swami Vivekananda preached.
OVERVIEW OF THE BOOK Benediction: – SWAMI RANGANATHANANDA – SWAMI DAYANANDA – SWAMI TATTVAVIDANANDA Publisher‟s Note Foreword – SWAMI TAPASYANANDA Prolegomenon – DR. M. LAKSHMI KUMARI “A Book to be Treasured...” – M. V. KAMATH “A Homage with a Difference” – PROF. K. R. SRINIVASA IYENGAR Editor‟s Note A Synoptic View of the Book – K. P. SHIVKUMAR
INTRODUCTION Part One: Sec. I VIVEKANANDA: HIS GOSPEL OF MAN-MAKING Part One: Sec. II VIVEKANANDA ON EDUCATION AND RELIGION (Interpretations and Allied Thoughts) Part One: Sec. III VIVEKANANDA – THE MAN AND HIS MISSION (Tributes from Abroad, Monks, Savants & Saints, Statesmen & Politicians) Part Two A CHRONICLE OF IMPORTANT EVENTS IN THE LIFE AND TIMES OF VIVEKANANDA (1863-1902) Part Three VIVEKANANDA – A VOICE FROM ACROSS THE CENTURY (1893-1993) Part Four WINDS OF CHANGE: VIVEKANANDA AND HIS IMPACT ON THE WESTERN MIND (1893-2013) Part Five VIVEKANANDA IN PICTURES List of Pictures Appendix i) Vivekananda and His New Gospel – A Recapitulation ii) Homage to Swami Vivekananda iii) An Unwarranted „Disclaimer‟ On Vivekananda TV Series Glossary Bibliography (Chronicle) Vivekananda Literature – Books by and on Vivekananda Brief Introduction to the Authors General Index (Chronicle) Subject Index (Chronicle)
CONTENTS AT A GLANCE Introduction
The introduction to the book brings out the universal and unifying aspects of Indian spiritual and cultural heritage and shows how the great genius of Swami Vivekananda tried to establish not only its practicality and relevance in the presentday world but also reiterated the urgent need to follow its tenets for the onward progress of mankind – the development and enlightenment of the individual and for peace and harmony in society.
Vivekananda – His Gospel of Man-making
Vivekananda's thoughts on the art of moulding people, combining scientific temper with a spiritual basis, are enshrined in this section. Transforming individuals was his main preoccupation, for he believed that in such free, fearless persons of character, enlightenment and love lay the hope of the world. Transformation of persons is the only solution for all the ills plaguing the society. Swamiji has provided the best of remedies for today‟s social and global illness.
Vivekananda on Education and Religion
(Interpretations and Allied Thoughts) Swamiji's ideas springing forth from the fountainhead of his realization that each soul is potentially divine get amplified and reinforced in this section through several scholarly voices. This innate divinity of mankind was what Swamiji emphasized all the time, as he was fully convinced through his own life and that of his Great Master that on this foundation alone can be built the beautiful edifice of human life grounded on character, dignity and integrity, not only of the individual but also of the nation.
Vivekananda – The Man and his Mission (Tributes)
This section highlighting not only the importance of Swami Vivekananda‟s life and teachings but also the impact it has produced on the world citizens from various walks of life brings together the vast collection of observations on him. The multifaceted personality of the great Swami, seen, known, adored - 10 -
and worshipped by many contemporaries, his and ours, get painted on the canvas of the last one century of Indian cultural history.
A Chronicle of Important Events in the Life and Times of Vivekananda (1863-1902)
This part aims at presenting Swamiji's historic image in the context of the contemporary movements – political, social, cultural, etc. This is useful for a proper understanding of Swamiji‟s mission in world perspective. Besides the principal events in the life of the Swami, the Chronicle thus covers significant landmarks in various spheres of human activity in India and abroad during the years 1863-1902.
Vivekananda – A Voice from Across the Century (1893-1993)
In the context of the centenary of Swamiji's appearance in the World's Parliament of Religions held at Chicago on September 11, 1893, this part highlights his visit to and the impact on the West, and his historic Chicago Address. Portraying him as a bridge between the East and the West, it shows how Vivekananda is a dynamic spiritual force to shape the future of the humanity.
Winds of Change: Vivekananda and His Impact on the Western Mind (1893-2013)
This new supplement in the context of the 150th Birth Anniversary of Swamiji, gives a very satisfying picture of how far the Vedanta philosophy has influenced some of the greatest thinkers in the West, and through them how the thoughts have influenced lakhs and lakhs of receptive minds there. The significance of this Section lies in the fact that it gives us a more comprehensive picture of the range of Swami Vivekananda‟s success in the West. The main source of inspiration for this Section is Philip Goldberg‟s book American Veda. It reveals, in a nut-shell, the extent to which reputed American intellectuals have taken up the study of Vedanta and what a force they were in giving further thrust to the thought movement following Swamiji‟s visit to America. - 11 -
Vivekananda in Pictures
This part enables the readers to see Swamiji visually through illustrations. It contains a selection of eighty photographs projecting tapestry-like a visual review of the evolution of Naren into Vivekananda the prophet of „Awakened India‟, of man‟s awakening into his true Self, and of the efflorescence of the Divine in everyday human life.
Vivekananda Literature – Books by and on Vivekananda
An exhaustive list of over 200 books by and on Swami Vivekananda is appended to the book for reference and further study.
A SYNOPTIC VIEW OF THE BOOK By K. P. Shivkumar When Swami Jyotirmayananda asked me to prepare for the new edition of his book on Swami Vivekananda an Editorial Note that can serve as a Prelude presenting a synoptic view of the whole work, at first I was not very eager to consent, because, the size of the book stared me in the face. Further, I noticed that the celebrated book carried eloquent messages from luminaries like Swami Ranganathananda, Swami Tapasyananda, M. P. Pandit, and scholars like Dr. M. Lakshmi Kumari, Prof. K.R. Srinivasa Iyengar, and M.V. Kamath have also paid glowing tributes to it. As the book has already been reviewed extensively, the big question before me was, what do I have to say over and above what these celebrities have already said about the book? But Swami Jyotirmayananda was insistent on my attempt at boiling down the contents of the book in a short compass for the benefit of the readers of the new edition in the context of the historic 150th Birth Anniversary (2013) of Swami Vivekananda. So I felt, Providence has willed that I should also have a role in this sacred mission, however small the role might be. At last I decided to write a Section-wise Note about this Author is on page 36
- 12 -
Synopsis for the book. Of course, Swami Jyotirmayananda gave me ample time for the assignment. After a close reading of the text, I have attempted the Synopsis bringing out the central idea in each Section. I place this garland of Synopses before the readers, hoping that it would prompt them to delve into the deeper reaches of this book and return with a heavy collection of pearls of wisdom conducive to their higher and higher evolution in spirit and outlook. In his Benediction to the book, Swami Ranganathananda says: “It is a unique book with rich reading material which instructs and inspires the reader. It should find a place in all our libraries of educational institutions and all our public libraries as well.” Foreword:
Swami Tapasyananda Swami Vivekananda‟s message aiming at the spiritual regeneration has relevance for the whole of mankind. His seminal gospel of the essential divinity of man has a universal appeal. The World‟s Parliament of Religions at Chicago was the most appropriate platform to deliver this message. Symbolically, the venue also proved an ideal place to warn the world against the indiscriminate growth of materialism. In the light of his Vedantic message, religious exclusivism and fanaticism pale into insignificance. What Swamiji achieved in the last ten years of his life is epochmaking. A patriotic and revolutionary monk indeed he was. There is no dearth of Vivekananda literature. There are many inspiring biographical works on him. The Complete Works in eight volumes (with a ninth one added later) is a monumental work. Then why this book? In what way does this compilation by Swami Jyotirmayananda distinguish itself from the rest? In his Foreword Swami Tapasyananda answers the question: “It has got a significance which none of the existing works on the Swami serves. It can be called a - 13 -
comprehensive study of Swami Vivekananda. Not only does it give a brief account of his life and selected body of his lectures; it gives a variety of essays and utterances of eminent thinkers, a collection of which one can get nowhere except in this book. Besides, it also gives a bird‟s-eye view of the history of the times in which Swamiji appeared… These three features of Swami Jyotirmayananda‟s compilation make this book very valuable...” Prolegomenon:
Dr. M. Lakshmi Kumari This fascinating book bears ample testimony to Swami Jyotirmayananda‟s labour of love. This highly skilled work of compilation is not only about the teachings of Swami Vivekananda, but also about many historical events in the years of the great Swami, besides the significant events in his multi-faceted life. Millions the world over have been inspired by Swamiji‟s life and message. The book provides a long list of people in recent times who have drawn inspiration from Swamiji. Swamiji appeared at a historically significant time when science and religion were at the crossroads. He was a visionary. He was quick to grasp the points of strength as well as the weaknesses both of the East and the West. Swamiji was that Spiritual Ambassador who boldly and openly claimed the pre-eminent position of India in bringing about the much needed cultural transformation. In the words of Dr. Lakshmi Kumari: “To religion he gave a scientific basis and to science he added a philosophical background, and, in the truly Indian tradition, transformed every action into worship.” In view of its wide range of coverage, the book could be a ready reference digest. „The vast collection of observations on Swami Vivekananda‟ is another special feature of attraction in this book.
Book to be treasured: M. V. Kamath M. V. Kamath‟s review which appeared in „Bhavan‟s Journal‟, (May 1-15, 1988), has been excerpted in the volume. - 14 -
Mr. Kamath has crisply outlined the life of Swami Vivekananda. Scintillating quotes from renowned authors like A. L. Basham, Christopher Isherwood and Will Durant give a finesse to his review.
Homage with a difference: Prof. K. R. Srinivasa Iyengar These are excerpts from a review in „The Hindu‟ (June 23, 1987). Prof. K. R. Srinivasa Iyengar has succinctly presented the scope of Swami Jyotirmayananda‟s work. As he points out, the book is clearly „encyclopedic‟ in scope. The scholarprofessor has very skillfully presented the spotlight of Section III of the book in the following words: “He [Swami Vivekananda] is hailed or lauded variously, poetically or picturesquely, and always aptly: “a versatile personality” (Tapasyananda), “Multi-faceted” “multiple personality”, “resplendent torchlight”, “the morning bird of Indian cultural and spiritual renaissance” (M. Bhaktavatsalam), “a soul of puissance” (Sri Aurobindo), “archetype of the sannyasin” (Justice Chagla), “not a man, (but) a god” (Thomas Allen). Prof. Zaehner thinks that Vivekananda breathed “life into the purely static monism of Sankara”, and A.L. Basham, quoting C.E.M. Joad, says that the Swamiji virtually initiated “the counter-attack from the East.” Introduction:
Vivekananda – An Unfailing Mentor The seventeen-page Introduction by Swami Jyotirmayananda is a fitting forerunner to the main text. A considerable part of it is devoted to stressing the importance of spiritual growth of the individual and spiritual regeneration of society and the humanity at large. “Self-reform automatically brings about social reformation. Confine yourself to selfreformation. Social reform will take care of itself.” This central idea is elaborated with quotes from the works of several saints. Here is another simple and forthright quote: “Our economic and social crises come from the withering - 15 -
away of spiritual values and the consequent moral vacuum in public life.” So, the moulding of man and characterbuilding are of main concern. Life is a rare opportunity which is not to be wasted. The towering personality of Swami Vivekananda is there as a perennial source of inspiration. The brief life sketch of Swami Vivekananda that follows in the second half of this chapter presents before us the Man and the Message as the two inseparable factors. Part One – Section One:
Vivekananda: His Gospel of Man-making The gospel of man-making has its seeds in the Upanishads. The seeds remained stored up to be broadcast at an appropriate time. The time came with the advent of Swami Vivekananda. The soil was fertile, and the time ripe for broadcasting the Upanishadic seeds potent with the manmaking gospel. By broadcasting these seeds, Swami Vivekananda brought about a spiritual revolution in the country in a way none had done before. What he spoke in the West made its echoes in the East, and what he spoke in the East made its echoes in the West. The message of the immortality of the soul is unequivocally spelt out in the Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita. The human soul (atman) is imperishable. It cannot be destroyed. It has no birth or death. It is ever pure. Such a soul is the true essence of man. So, Vivekananda exhorts, “All power is within you, you can do anything and everything. Believe in that. Do not believe that you are weak…Stand up and express the divinity within you.. Infinite power is within you.” Remembrance of this true human nature -- sat-chit-ananda – Existence-Knowledge-Bliss nature of the Self renders one fearless and manly. But then, how to come to terms with this proclamation? -- through unflinching faith, pending one‟s - 16 -
own direct experience (anubhava). Faith is a significant power; it is also a great moulder in life. The eternal, ever-blissful soul, the true Self of man (also called the atman, in Sanskrit) is not affected by his karmas – good or bad actions. The Self being the ultimate truth, says Swami Vivekananda, “Say not man is a sinner. Tell him that he is God.” He then says, “My mission is to arouse within you all such ideas. I am ready to undergo a hundred thousand rebirths to train up a single man.” This courage of conviction, this readiness to sacrifice all personal comforts and the bliss of mukti comes from the innate strength, from the realization of the highest truth that the soul never dies. Purity is strength. A character born of purity and morality is glorious. One must think of oneself as strong and invulnerable. It is thought which is the propelling force in us. Fill the mind with the highest thoughts… Some of the highlights of this Section are: Seek God within: Seeking God within you is only coming back to the point of origin. The closer one gets to the Self, the greater the freedom from delusion. God is one‟s true Self. So it is a mistake to think of Him as separate from us. Adore the living God: Vedanta teaches one to see God everywhere and in everyone. This is a way to raise oneself. Swamiji asks: “Where shall we go to find God if we cannot see Him in our hearts, and in every living being?” And, therefore, Swamiji says: “This is the gist of all worship – to be pure and to do good to others. He who sees Shiva in the poor, in the weak, and in the diseased, really worships Shiva; and if he sees Shiva only in the image, his worship is but preliminary.” A large portion of this Section is a call for spiritual awakening. Carry the light of Knowledge: The inborn nature of man should be clearly understood. Vedanta is all about this truth - 17 -
of the innate glory and goodness of man. “Each human being stands for the divine, and, therefore, every teacher should be helpful, not condemning man, but by helping him to call forth the divinity that is within him.” The understanding of one‟s own divinity, the acknowledgement of the fact that he is the spirit, will make a fisherman a better fisherman, the student a better student, and the lawyer a better lawyer. It will take ages for the message to spread among humanity. But the task is to „carry the light and life of Vedanta to every door‟. Spiritual Knowledge… : Helping others in the material sense is, of course, a kind of service. But the panacea for all maladies is in spiritual knowledge. Therefore, he who imparts spiritual knowledge is the greatest benefactor. Next in importance comes intellectual help. Because ignorance is a great weakness. Knowledge is power. “Let men have light, let them be pure and spiritually strong and educated, then alone misery will cease in the world. We may convert every house in the country a charity asylum, we may fill the land with hospitals, but the misery of men will still continue to exist until man‟s character changes,” says Swami Vivekananda. It is by acquiring spiritual knowledge that man becomes truly happy and unselfish. Spirituality can be communicated. As Swamiji points out: “If a man goes into a cave, shuts himself in, and thinks one really great thought and dies, that thought will penetrate the walls of the cave, vibrate through space and at last penetrate the whole human race.” Passions and desires in fact torment a person. Greed causes imbalance. All these are negative forces against character-formation. A truly spiritual person is one of character. Says Swamiji: “What we need is strong common sense, a public spirit, and a philosophy and religion which will make us men.” India – the Land of Wisdom: India is known for her ancient wisdom. Hindus owe their descent to ancient rishis. “In other countries great priests try to trace their descent to some - 18 -
king, but here the greatest kings would trace their descent to some ancient priest.” In this context, the religious tolerance, nay, the „acceptance‟ of all religions in India is reiterated. What is really needed is the „mutual respect‟ rather than the mere condescending “tolerance” of the bigoted and the fanatics. The Hindus have never been persecutors and proselytizers like those of the Abrahamic faiths. Hinduism is not a conquering religion wedded to a single book or a prophet. It is never a „one way traffic to heaven‟! It believes in mutual respect, assimilation, harmony and peace. “We never preached”, says Swami Vivekananda, “our thoughts with fire and sword.” Swamiji, in stating what religion is not, answers the question of what religion is. “Religion is not talk or doctrines or theories, nor is it sectarianism. Religion cannot live in sects and societies. It is the relation between the soul and God… Religion consists in realization.” What is religion? “Religion is the manifestation of the perfection already in man.” There can be unity but not uniformity. Unity in diversity is the law of nature. Though there is no division in the Ultimate Reality, distinction and difference is the empirical reality which cannot be denied. So there is difference without there being any division. All people are not cast in the same mould. Temperaments, inclinations and outlooks are bound to differ from person to person and from place to place, and hence the need for different pathways for the aspirants. The path of „Karma Yoga‟ suits those who are active by temperament. „Bhakti Yoga‟ more readily appeals to the emotionally predominant ones. „Raja Yoga‟, the path of psychic control, suits people of contemplative nature. „Jnana Yoga‟ is yet another path for the discriminative type. The whole idea is to bring out the Perfect Man by resorting to one or more or all of these paths. One used to a brisk life becomes uneasy, may even become lunatic, if he is to live in quiet solitude. At the same time, inactivity is also not a promising kind of life. So the ideal is - 19 -
„intense activity amidst eternal calmness.‟ “The ideal man is he, who, in the midst of greatest silence and solitude, finds the intensest activity, and in the midst of the intensest activity finds the silence and solitude of the desert.” This doctrine finds clear exposition in the Gita. Self-abnegation is a great virtue. To become selfless in one‟s action is the core doctrine of Karma Yoga, at the culminating point of which the aspirant discovers that in his true Self which is the „Being”, there is no “doing”, and as such he is a mere witness of all actions taking place in the prakriti -- the manifest aspect of the Reality, where alone all actions take place. The more one is free from the sense of „me‟ and „mine‟ (ahamkara and mamakara), the greater is his freedom. „Pravritti‟ is „going towards‟ the world of acquisition, whereas „nivritti‟ is „going away‟ from it. “The guiding motive of man should be charity towards men, charity towards all animals.” In „nivritti‟, morality finds its strongest expression. Man is not what he appears to be. He is not a mere bodymind-sense complex -- a conglomeration of mind and matter. The true nature of man is „Pure Awareness Absolute‟-- the Infinite, Eternal Existence (sat-chit-ananda). So long as one lives in the little self, in a circumscribed world, he appears to be small and limited. He is thus subject to the fear of death. When he knows the Truth, and can say with conviction, “I am in everything, in everybody, I am in all lives, I am the universe,” then alone comes the state of fearlessness. In other words, real fearlessness is the outcome of such an exalted state of attainment where you know that as the „Pure Being‟, you are everything, you are in everything and everything is in you only. Development of an integrated personality should be the ideal – the intellect of a Shankara coupled with the heart of a Buddha. Sri Ramakrishna, for example, was such a grand personality in whom karma, bhakti, jnana and yoga so gracefully blended. - 20 -
Mere acquisition of external knowledge is like polishing up the outside, when the inside is a mere hollow. “The ideal of all education, all training, should be man-making… It is manmaking religion that we want. It is man-making theories that we want. It is man-making education all round that we want…Real education is that which enables one to stand on his own legs…” Swamiji goes on to emphasize the glory of the power of concentration. According to him, the very essence of education is concentration of the mind. “The more the power of concentration, the greater the knowledge that is acquired… When the mind is concentrated and turned back on itself, all within us will be servants, not our masters.” Swami Vivekananda‟s concept of religion is extraordinary, grand indeed, born of his own inner experience, and a thorough grasp of the essence of all religions. He never denigrates any religion. He is never a fanatic. His patriotism and his pride in being a staunch Hindu („I am proud to call myself a Hindu…”) should not be mistaken for fanaticism. He says, “By the study of different religions, we find that in essence they are one.” Differences are only in the external which are just peripheral. The one ultimate test of all religions lies in Realization of God – the Supreme Reality. The universality of all religions is in this test – of Realization. It is by knowing God within that man regains his pristine purity and guilelessness. Universal Religion: Over the centuries, more and more refined thoughts and concepts have bridged the gap between man and God. There cannot be one single universal religion. There are different paths and different methods of worship. But the one and the only one universal truth, the ultimate test of all religions is God-realization. Social inequalities have been there. The once exploited classes are going to be the exploiters, or the exploiting class. - 21 -
Upper class hegemony is on the wane. Social differences are man-made. But religion is not at fault. “On the other hand, your religion teaches you that every being is your own self multiplied. But it was the want of practical application, the want of sympathy – the want of heart. This state of things must be removed, not by destroying religion, but by following the great teachings of the Hindu faith.” The Section concludes with an appeal for socialism with a spiritual basis. The day is not far off when the once exploited classes will overtake the exploiting class. The retaliatory effect will be terrible. The only remedy is to understand religion in the proper perspective, because religion is not at fault. Part One – Section Two:
Vivekananda on Education and Religion Swamiji‟s ideas springing forth from the fountainhead of his realisation that each soul is potentially divine get amplified and reinforced in this section through several scholarly voices. Focusing on „Education and Religion‟, it also exposes how the present system of education and understanding of religion are woefully disappointing. “Education is the manifestation of the perfection already in man”, said Swami Vivekananda. Perfection cannot be incompleteness. Here, the Perfection aimed at is the knowing of that by which everything becomes known. The Ultimate knowledge to be gained is the knowledge of the Self or the atman. In this sense, education should enable a person to evolve spiritually. In ancient times, the gurukula system of education laid stress on both secular and spiritual education. The disciple, over a period of twelve years, would learn a lot from the Guru. The conduct and character of the Guru itself would set an ideal example for the disciple to follow. So, by the time the disciple came out of gurukulalvaas after years of study and service as ordained - 22 -
by the Guru, he would be a person of sterling character ready to take up the next stage of life while at the same time endeavouring for spiritual growth. Commerce, industry and technology dominate the socioeconomic life. Naturally, the academic syllabi are drawn on these lines. Religion and spirituality which contain abundant humanizing precepts and examples are set apart as if they are not meant for pupils in their formative years. This is a serious lacuna. However, there has been an awakening in the past few years to inculcate ethical values along with secular knowledge. Swami Vivekananda envisaged man-making, charactermaking and nation-building assimilation of ideas. He says, “Our economic expansion is often at the cost of moral degradation… Medium of recreation and enjoyment are fatally contaminated by shocking changes that are created in art…” Swami Ramdas says, “Do not fritter away your powers in pursuit of the transient satisfaction and joys of mere external life. Illumine the intellect, develop the will and purify the heart and body, and you will gain immense strength for the true understanding and perfect enjoyment of an eternal life.” Such thoughts and ideas can be inculcated in the minds of pupils. “Every system has produced men and women of the most exalted character,” said Swami Vivekananda, because every system has virtuous and spiritually elevating tenets. Unfortunately, the present education system, in accordance with the educational policies has nothing to do with such ideals. It is in these perspectives that religion or religious education should be understood. The central idea in Eknath Ranade‟s essay in this part of the book is, one should lead a purposeful life and not live like animals swayed by instincts to seek fulfillment of the senses. - 23 -
Swami Vivekananda had a very holistic approach to Religion. In the light of his Vedantic ideal, service to man is service to God, because man is essentially atman, the Immortal Spirit that is God. For the Ramakrishna Math and Mission that he founded, he gave the motto: Atmano mokshaartam jagath hitaayacha – „for one‟s own salvation and the welfare of others‟. This ideal at once nullifies all kinds of parochialism and exclusivism. For India, according to Swami Vivekananda, giving up Religion is the most unwise, most dangerous thing, because according to him, Religion is the backbone of India. For him, “the national union of India must be a gathering of all spiritual forces. A nation in India must be a union of those whose hearts beat to the same spiritual tune.” In India, even politics, if tempered with religion, can prove to be more fruitful and peaceful. Otherwise, politics will create more of chaos and conflicts than peace and amity. The crux of the matter in this Section is aptly reflected in the words of Dr.M. Lakshmi Kumari in a paragraph appearing in the write-up under the sub-title „Consequences of Giving up Religion‟: “A reader of Swami Vivekananda‟s lectures on Indian nationalism will feel a little embarrassed by his uncompromising insistence that religion should form the basis of Indian reconstruction. For, ever since Independence, our leaders have repeated that India is a secular State and religion should be relegated as a matter of private life. Several sections of people who think that way are motivated only by indifference and insensitiveness to spiritual values. Affluence, which means possession of enjoyment, is the only value to be pursued according to them and hence religion should be excluded from the educational system and from the purview of the State‟s activities in all fields. This denigration of religion in a total or in a partial way has been going on in this country for the past four decades. - 24 -
The cumulative practice of secularism has only been the growth of competition and degradation of moral standards on all sides.” Part One – Section Three:
Vivekananda — The Man and His Mission (Tributes) What Sri Ramakrishna means to Swami Vivekananda, and what Swami Vivekananda means to Sri Ramakrishna finds description here and there in this Section, among other things. Therefore, it will do well to start the synopsis briefly outlining the Nara-Narayana, the Master-disciple duo that contributed to the spiritual renaissance and national regeneration, a phenomenon never witnessed before. With purity and vairagya (dispassion) as inborn-qualities, the eighteen-year old Narendranath met Sri Ramakrishna as a relentless seeker of God. In other words, before long, Narendranath discovered his true spiritual guru – „My Master‟. Established in the exalted Advaitic experience, this rare and unique guru, Sri Ramakrishna, could churn the restless God-seeking mind of Narendranath and place in his hands the resultant butter of God-realization. Another uniqueness of this Sage of Dakshineswar, Sri Ramakrishna, was that he also practised the tenets of Semitic religions. It was under such a glorious Master that Narendranath was moulded into Swami Vivekananda. In the words of Bipin Chandra Pal, “Vivekananda clothed the spiritual realization of his Master in the language of modern Hinduism.” No wonder, in religious matters, Swami Vivekananda was far from being fanatic. His own catholicity of outlook, his own guru Sri Ramakrishna‟s acceptance of all religions as true, as different paths leading to the same goal, and his own profound understanding of the essentials of Vedanta – all contributed to his, that is, Swami Vivekananda‟s evolution which on the spiritual plane elevated him to a height with no equals. The message he delivered in the West, naturally, - 25 -
could not be any different from what his own evolved stature was. He was what he spoke; and what he spoke, that he was. “Vedanta teaches that God is in everything. This democracy based on the spiritual oneness of mankind places Vedanta in a privileged position to preach true universal brotherhood.” (Dr. Tapash Sankar Dutta). This Section is a treasury of tributes to Swami Vivekananda. It is a huge garland woven with flowers of varying hues. A few flowers have been taken out from the garland and woven into a smaller one to give a synoptic view. The tributes are from saints and savants from all over the world, and also from eminent statesmen and a few outstanding political figures. Those fortunate ones who saw Swami Vivekananda were captivated by his personality. Those who heard his speech became speechless. Those who heard his message felt a new awakening. Those who thought of his energy and courage were struck with wonder. How thoroughly many westerners have understood Swami Vivekananda is a fact to which we Indians cannot grudge acknowledgement. Their grasp of Hinduism as presented by Swamiji is comparable with some of the best minds in India. Even a random collection of tributes from this Section will present Swamiji in his multifarious splendour. Here are a few: “He spoke. It was enough. The depth of his great soul had sounded forth, and the world felt the vibration. One single man changed the current of thought of half the globe -- that was his work.” (Christina Albers) “He has given us in America higher ideas of life than we have ever had before.” (John J. Bagley) “Since the days of the Indian missionaries who travelled in South-East Asia and China preaching - 26 -
Buddhism and Hinduism more than a thousand years earlier, he was the first Indian religious teacher to make an impression outside India.” (Prof. A. L. Basham) “I was at the Parliament of Religions in Chicago in 1893. When the young man got up and said „Sisters and Brothers of America‟, seven thousand people rose to their feet as a tribute to something they knew not what. When it was over, I saw scores of women walking over the benches to get near him; and I said to myself, „Well my lad, if you can resist the onslaught, you are indeed a God‟.” (S. K. Blodgett) “A reversal is taking place in the West, where the people cloyed with material surfeit, are searching for the inner being. The „spiritual‟ jolt which Vivekananda gave to the West early in the century is now proving its impact.” (Marie Louise Burke) “It has been my good fortune and my joy to know a man who truly „walked with God‟, a noble being, a saint, a philosopher, and a true friend.” (Madame Emma Calve) “Vivekananda taught that God is within each one of us, and that each one of us was born to rediscover his own God-nature… He was the prophet of selfreliance, of individual search and effort.” (Christopher Isherwood) “The paragon of all monistic systems is the Vedantic philosophy of Hinduism, and the paragon of Vedantic missionaries was the late Swami Vivekananda who visited our land some years ago… I have just been reading some of Vivekananda‟s addresses in England, which I had not seen. The man is simply a wonder for oratorical power…The Swami is an honour to humanity in any case.” (William James) - 27 -
“This monk was of commanding presence and vast learning, speaking English like a Webster.” (Sir Hiram Stevens Maxim) “We perceive his influence still working gigantically, we know not well how, we know not well where, in something that is not yet formed, something leonine, grand, intuitive, upheaving that has entered the soul of India, and we say, „Behold! Vivekananda still lives in the soul of his Motherland and in the soul of his children.” (Sri Aurobindo) “It was at a meeting of learned pundits in Madras that young Vivekananda was explaining how Dvaita, Vishishtadvaita and Advaita were not to be looked upon as contradictory lines of Vedanta but were really successive stages of spiritual realizations. Someone from the audience asked him why, if that was so, none of the Masters had mentioned it so far. The reply was startling: „Because I was born for this, and it was left for me to do.” (M. P. Pandit) “I have gone through his works very thoroughly, and after having gone through them, the love that I had for this country became a thousand-fold.” (Mahatma Gandhi) “People have seen in Swami Vivekananda the soul of Bharat.” (Baba Saheb Apte) “It was Vivekananda who first gave to the Hindu movement its sense of nationalism and provided most of the movements with a common all-India outlook.” (K. M. Panikkar) “Swami Vivekananda saved Hinduism and saved India. But for him we would have lost our religion and would not have gained our freedom. We therefore owe everything to Swami Vivekananda. May his faith, - 28 -
his courage and his wisdom ever inspire us so that we may keep safe the treasure we have received from him.” (C. Rajagopalachari) “Swami Vivekananda gave new strength and new purpose to an old message, and in himself combined the highest qualities which any human being can hope to possess.” (Vijayalakshmi Pandit) “If you want to know India, study Vivekananda. In him everything is positive and nothing negative.” (Rabindranath Tagore) “Vivekananda‟s appeal is not confined to any particular section of people. Though as his favourite disciple Sister Nivedita has put it, „he was born a lover and the queen of his adoration was his Motherland‟, his message was universal. Although he was an allrenouncing sannyasi, he was equally an allembracing patriot, and was known as the „Patriot Monk of India‟. While he was a philosopher of the highest order, he was a radical revolutionary in his ideas. No wonder, one of the greatest sons of Modern India, himself a thorough-going revolutionary, Subash Chandra Bose said this about Swamiji: „If Swamiji had been alive today, he would have been my guru; that is to say, I would have accepted him as Master. It is needless to add, however, that as long as I live, I shall be absolutely loyal to Ramakrishna-Vivekananda‟.” (P. Parameswaran) “It was he (Vivekananda) who laid the foundation of the regenerated Bharat by making the country aware of its life-centre which was religion round which alone, he emphasized, could our Hindu Nation be effectively and purposefully reorganized.” (Eknath Ranade) “He was a patriot to the core. In fact he was an inspired patriot-saint, the watchword of whose heart was Hindu - 29 -
and Bharat. He wanted all his followers and admirers to intensely love the country. Even he wanted the same love from his foreign disciples. When after her arrival in our country Miss Josephine Macleod asked, „How can I best help you?‟ „Love India‟ was the answer of Swamiji. (K. Suryanarayana Rao) Part Two:
A Chronicle of Important Events in the Life and Times of Swami Vivekananda (1863-1902) Presenting a chronicle of important events in the life and times of Swami Vivekananda forms the bulk of the volume. The encyclopedic range of coverage of important personalities like great leaders, scientists, inventors, discoverers, saints, reformers, literary luminaries, and various important events at the national as well as international level has naturally made this Part of the book the most captivating Section of the whole work, strikingly different from the other biographies of Swamiji. The compilation must have been a very arduous task very patiently accomplished. The personalities and events are very strikingly interlaced with the life of Swamiji. Wherever possible, while presenting informative notes on various personalities or events, Swami Vivekananda‟s association or meeting with such personalities and his life against the backdrop of the various events have been graphically described, thereby constantly keeping alive before the reader‟s vision the splendour of the Man, Swami Vivekananda, and his Mission. This Section is also of great interest as it presents an almost exhaustive collection of Tributes paid to Swamiji in the various journals and leading newspapers – both Indian and foreign. A glance through the tributes would enable one to have an idea of what a phenomenon Swamiji was. The avalanche of spontaneous praise, admiration and honour heaped upon the Swami leaves one dazed at his might. - 30 -
In a definitive biography, not only tributes but also obituaries have a complementary role. Swami Jyotirmayananda has done ample justice to his compilation of Tributes and Obituaries. Considering the interminable list of personalities and events referred to in the Section, the work the authorSwamiji has done is amazing indeed. The meticulous compilation of facts and details relating to the specified period makes this Section a massive catalogue of ready reference. Part Three:
Vivekananda – A Voice from Across the Century (1893-1993) The Vedas are revered by the Hindus as the most ancient and sacred source of wisdom. What the ancient rishis or Seers experienced as revelations of the highest truth(s) were passed on from generation to generation as sruti (what is heard). Being the revelations experienced, the Vedas are authorless – apaurusheya. The Vedanta is the end portion of the Vedas, also known as the Upanishads. The Vedanta or the Upanishads constitute the bed-rock of Hinduism. Since the Vedanta is all about the most basic and eternal truths, Hinduism is also known as, rather more correctly known as Sanatana Dharma. Some of the most fundamental truths of the Vedanta are: „tat tvam asi‟ (That thou art); „aham brahmasmi‟ (I am Brahman); „ishaavaasyam idam sarvam‟ (Ishwara is all-pervading); „prajnaanam brahma‟ (The Ultimate Reality is Knowledge-absolute); and „ekam sat, vipraa bahudhaa vadanti‟ (The Ultimate Reality is one without a second, but sages call It variously). In the light of Vedantic truths, man is not a mere material entity. He is essentially the Spirit or the Self or the atman which, again, in the words of the Vedas is Immortal – amrutasya putraaha (Children of Immortality). Once man is understood as essentially the Spirit (atman) all other variations or external differences pale into insignificance. This essential oneness of man as the Spirit is the one cementing factor that binds the entire humanity into - 31 -
Universal Brotherhood. The Vedantic philosophy, by its own intrinsic nature, has no place for sectarianism, bigotry and fanaticism. These basic truths of Vedanta or Hinduism remained unknown not only to many in India but to practically the whole of the western world. Events in the world have been great forces to reckon with, shaping the ways of history and the destiny of mankind. One such historic event was the World‟s Parliament of Religions in Chicago. What was originally intended was the commemoration of the four hundredth year of the discovery of America by Columbus, as the World Columbian Exposition. It was a great occasion indeed for the New World to showcase its prestigious position in scientific and technological advancements, and in economic and material prosperity. One of the attractions of the Exposition was the Parliament of Religions. It was at this historic Parliament that Swami Vivekananda made history by representing Hinduism in deference to the persuasive appeal made by several of his associates and well wishers in India. Those who knew him had full confidence in his intellectual prowess and were also convinced of his highly evolved spiritual stature. No wonder, Prof. J. H. Wright of Harvard University said of him in his letter of introduction to Rev. Barrows, Chairman of the Parliament of Religions: “Here is a man who is more learned than all the Professors of America put together.” Starting on 11th September 1893, the Parliament concluded on 27th September. The maiden speech which Swamiji began with the words “Sisters and Brothers of America” at once electrified the audience. The spontaneous thunderous applause with which the 7000-strong audience greeted the opening words of the Swami set the tone for the tumultuous victories that were to follow. The reverberations of the victory could soon be felt in India too, marking the beginning of a new era of social and spiritual awakening. With the floodgates of Swamiji‟s Vedantic message open, America found itself on the vortex of a new experience - 32 -
unmatched in her history. The New York Herald commented: “After hearing him, we feel how foolish it is to send missionaries to this learned nation.” Dr. Annie Besant, giving her impression of Vivekananda in the Parliament quoted a man saying: “That man is a heathen? And we send missionaries to his people? It would be more fitting that they should send missionaries to us!” Here are a few historic pronouncements of Vivekananda from the Chicago addresses: “Sectarianism, bigotry and its horrible descendant fanaticism, have long possessed this beautiful earth. They have filled the earth with violence, drenched it often and often with human blood, destroyed civilizations and sent whole nations to despair...” At the concluding session of the Parliament on September 27, the Swami said: “The Christian is not to become a Hindu or a Hindu to become a Christian. But each must assimilate the spirit of the other and yet preserve his individuality and grow according to his own law of growth.” Many intellectuals and men with missionary zeal both in the East and the West, found Vivekananda‟s life and mission a powerful source of inspiration to work for the cause of social regeneration, educational upliftment and spiritual awakening. Part Three of the book presents clear vistas of the memorable event of the Parliament of Religions in Chicago. This Section is further enriched by essays on the event by illustrious persons in various walks of life like M. V. Kamath, Christopher Isherwood, Dr. Shankar Dayal Sharma, K. Suryanarayana Rao, Swami Ranganathananda, Swami Tapasyananda, H. V. Seshadri, P. V. Narasimha Rao, Swami Budhananda, Dr. M. Lakshmi Kumari, M. P. Pandit, Dr. V. Sukumaran Nair and Bansi Pandit.
- 33 -
Swami Jyotirmayananda‟s notes on how Swami Vivekananda inspired men like Rockefeller, the Tata and Eknath Ranade provide inspiring reading. The year 1893 is memorable not only for the Parliament of Religions, but also for a number of significant reasons. To mention a few, Paramahamsa Yogananda was born in 1893; Sri Aurobindo returned from England the same year; M. K. Gandhi sailed for South Africa; and B. G. Tilak made the Ganesh festival a grand public, state-wide celebration in Maharashtra to unify the Hindus with a sense of pride in their past. Swami Jyotirmayananda‟s diligent work speaks through this Section also. Part Four:
Winds of Change: Vivekananda and His Impact on the Western Mind (1893-2013) This new supplement to this edition is yet another feather in its cap. It gives a very satisfying picture of how far the Vedanta philosophy has influenced some of the greatest thinkers in the West, and through them how the thoughts have influenced lakhs and lakhs of receptive minds there. The significance of this Section lies in the fact that it gives us a more comprehensive picture of the range of Swami Vivekananda‟s success in the West. Of course, the media had no reservations in paying tributes to Swamiji‟s stature as the most forceful and unique monk from India. The echoes of the media reverberated in India and the people here were filled with pride and reverence for the Hindu monk – a feeling so well demonstrated by the enthusiastic crowds of people in India as soon as he returned from the West. The West gaining a remarkable insight into the Vedanta philosophy marks a transitional stage in its history, not without raising the image of India to a level never seen before Swami Vivekananda‟s advent, and gives one an insight into the devotion and fervour with which the Vedanta Societies worked there. - 34 -
The main source of inspiration for this Section is Philip Goldberg‟s book American Veda. It reveals, in a nut-shell, the extent to which reputed American intellectuals have taken up the study of Vedanta and what a force they were in giving further thrust to the thought movement following Swamiji‟s visit to America. Some of the intellectual stalwarts talked about are Romain Rolland, William James, Arnold Toynbee, Will Durant, Christopher Isherwood, Huston Smith, Gerald Heard, Joseph Campbell and Aldous Huxley. Among Russian intellectuals, LeoTolstoy and Pitrim Sorokin figure. At one place it is said: “By 1947, largely through the persuasive efforts of Gerald Heard, so many artists and intellectuals had been drawn to Vedanta. As eager students and professional writers of the highest caliber, Heard, Huxley and Isherwood brought intellectual rigour, a modern perspective, and stylistic grace to literature.” What Swami Prabhavananda of the Vedantic Society did with Isherwood and others, Swami Nikhilananda did with Joseph Campbell, a popular teacher and a media personality. He read the Bhagavad Gita every day. A copy of the Upanishads was kept in his hospital room. So saturated was he in Vedantic thoughts. Considering all these facts, there are ample reasons to believe that Vedanta has brought the East and the West closer together. Swami Vivekananda‟s role in bridging the gap between the East and the West cannot be underestimated. Homage to Vivekananda from Swami Ranganathananda and Swami Nikhilananda, as also Messages from Sri Narendra Modi and Sri Rajiv Malhotra give a fitting finale to this Part. Swami Ranganathananda rightly designates Vivekananda as India‟s great emissary to the West, while Swami Nikhilananda points out how Vivekananda‟s life and teachings are of inestimable value to the West for an understanding of the mind of Asia. Sri Narendra Modi lays great emphasis on the need to realise Swamiji‟s dream by following in his footsteps, and Sri Rajiv Malhotra asserts the - 35 -
essential divinity of man, who by no means an inheritor of any original „sin‟, but, truly sat-chit-ananda. Part Five:
Vivekananda in Pictures This Section is verily a pictorial exhibition. A rich collection of 80 photographs duly captioned serves like flower plants of varying hues adding to the beauty of a verdant landscape. A perusal of this Section gives one the feeling of seeing a documentary feature. Intently looking at the face of Swamiji in several of the photos, the mind tends to become meditative, feeling relaxed and feeling at home with someone so dear. At the back of the mind there is also a feeling of awe – What a life! What a personality! What a brilliant intellect! This Section is followed by the final one which again is a breath-taking volume of Appendix, Glossary, Bibliography, „Vivekananda Literature – Books by and on Swami Vivekananda‟, General and Subject Index etc. together making up over one hundred pages. A last word of appreciation: This huge volume, Vivekananda – His Gospel of Man-making, is doubtlessly a monumental work of Swami Jyotirmayananda. It is a divinely inspired work accomplished with consummate skill. =====================================================================
We are thankful to SRI K. P. SHIVKUMAR for his labour of love in presenting to our readers his excellent „Synoptic View‟ of the present Edition of our book on Swami Vivekananda, in the context of his 150th Birth Anniversary (2013). The Author is the former Assistant Editor, Vivekananda Kendra Prakashan Trust, Chennai (H.Q. Kanyakumari), and my association with him in the Editorial Department of the Kendra, Chennai (1975-76), is still fresh in my memory. Sri Shivkumar, who has a few books to his credit, also edited a Quarterly, “Make History”, for 18 years, and presently he is the Associate Editor of “Kisan World,” a Magazine founded by the eminent Industrialist and Philanthropist, Dr. N. Mahalingam. -- SWAMI JYOTIRMAYANANDA =====================================================================
- 36 -
REVIEW EXCERPTS I have gone through the book by Swami Jyotirmayananda: “Vivekananda: His Gospel of Man-making, with a Garland of Tributes, and a Chronicle of His Life and Times, with Pictures.” It is a unique book with rich reading material, which instructs and inspires the reader. It should find a place in all our libraries of educational institutions and all our public libraries as well.
– SWAMI RANGANATHANANDA in his Benediction
The popularization of the life and message of such a versatile personality as Swami Vivekananda is a necessity of our times. To fulfill this there are already in existence his Complete Works in eight volumes and several biographical writings on him by men of great eminence. In the midst of all this what special significance this compilation by Swami Jyotirmayananda has got – is a question that will come to the mind of a reader. It has got significance which none of the other existing works on the Swami serves. It can be called a comprehensive study of Swami Vivekananda. Not only does it give an account of his life and a selected body of his lectures; it gives a variety of essays and utterances by eminent thinkers, a collection of which one can get nowhere except in this book. Besides, it gives also a bird's eye-view of the history of the times in which Swamiji appeared. Every great man is a product of his times, and is in turn a maker of the future. For a comprehensive study this historical background is a great advantage. These three features of Swami Jyotirmayananda‟s compilation make this book very valuable. It is hoped that the book will have a wide circulation among serious readers who love India and its culture.
– SWAMI TAPASYANANDA in his Foreword
The serious student of Vivekananda has a generous choice of reading ranging from the Complete Works in 8 volumes to the biographical, estimative and interpretative studies by Romain Rolland, Swami Nikhilananda, Sister Nivedita, - 37 -
Swami Avyaktananda, S. N. Dhar, Swami Tapasyananda, R. C. Majumdar and a host of others. Swami Jyotirmayananda‟s present massive compilation, however, is homage with a difference. While in its weight and varied richness of content it is clearly „encyclopedic‟ in scope, it nevertheless avoids uniform alphabetization and is actually a cross between a Vivekananda Handbook and a Chronicle of His Life and Times. The Editor‟s admirable 17-page introduction sets the tone to the whole endeavour, and is followed by copious extracts judiciously chosen, captioned and arranged – some exhortative, others instructive – from Vivekananda‟s speeches and writings that cumulatively set forth his „Gospel of Man-making‟. This really means rousing the purblind human race to an awareness of its innate spiritual strength and essential divine nature. Human beings are by no means inheritors of any original „sin‟, but truly „amrtasya putrah‟, children of immortality. Such is Vedanta's Magna Carta for humanity. The volume also includes a selection of 80 photographs projecting tapestry-like a visual review of the evolution of Naren into Vivekananda the Prophet of Prabuddha Bharata, of man‟s awakening into his true self, and of the efflorescence of the Divine in everyday human life. The Gargantuan editorial work has doubtless been a labor of love and devotion, of total commitment too. This is a book for all libraries, personal and public alike.
– PROF. K.R. SRINIVASA IYENGAR in his Review
This book is significant in that two objectives are beautifully achieved: Nearly 200 pages of tributes to Swami Vivekananda and a 300-page Chronicle of his Life and Times. Also included is a bouquet of sublime and soulstirring thoughts of Swamiji, a significant selection from his highly inspiring speeches and writings. The tribute section is certainly most extensive to be found.... This book is a remarkable compilation of information.... Because of the Chronicle one can easily perceive the diverse energies at play in the rampant growth of the industrial revolution and modern science, and the social changes.... Perusing the - 38 -
Chronicle, one appreciates the importance of the editor's intent: “To provide a vista of the principal events in the life of Swami Vivekananda and aid the reader in understanding Swamiji‟s historic environs and the forces which were moulding human consciousness during the period”. – ―HINDUISM TODAY‖ in its Review Swami Jyotirmayananda's work on Swami Vivekananda is unique in many respects. Apart from the Swami‟s writings and speeches relating to his favorite theme of „Man-making‟, there are other interesting features viz. Essays and interpretations by competent persons on the approach of Vivekananda to Religion and Education, a whole section of tributes to this Lion of Vedanta by his contemporaries and later men from different walks of life; a Chronicle of events of importance in the world when he lived and events in his own life alongside; eighty pictures of Vivekananda at different stages in his career. There are several interesting anecdotes related by writers in course of their tributes. In the Chronicle flit Huxley, Darwin, Karl Marx, Edison, Wimbledon with dates and mention of their achievements. A fascinating work, complete with indices and bibliography.
– M. P. PANDIT in his Review
This is a unique book set in a unique format and withal, most relevant to our times. There are several excellent to good biographies of Swami Vivekananda. This book is not a biography in the accepted sense of the term. But it places Vivekananda in the context of his times as no other book has so far done. What is most fascinating about this book is the Chronicle of important events in the life and times of Swami Vivekananda, for it brings to the reader in vivid terms the atmosphere of the times in which Vivekananda lived. It tells us a great deal about the events that took place during forty years of the Swami's life. It has been rightly said that the significance of a man's life and activities is best understood - 39 -
in the context of the times in which he lived. Newspaper accounts make fascinating reading. And the compiler has provided us long quotes from a variety of sources, both Indian and Foreign. They paint between them such a vivid picture of Vivekananda that he comes through in all his vibrancy. There has never been a book like this before and it is unlikely that there will be another like this again. It brings us Vivekananda in all his magnificence and glory. It recreates for us another time and era. This is a book to be treasured for its own sake and for the sake of Vivekananda.
– M. V. KAMATH in his Review
Swami Jyotirmayananda, himself a light of the Ramakrishna lineage, and thus a spiritual heir to Vivekananda, is said to have worked day and night for five years to bring together this amazing testament. „Vivekananda, the great teacher, philosopher and mystic whose mission was to rouse, in all people, awareness of the focus of human dignity – the atman – and help them manifest that glory in every movement of their life.‟ One can hardly glance at any of its thousand pages without being immediately captured by the charm, the wit, the awesome power of this most powerful of Hindus of the last century, the Lion of Vedanta of ChicagoParliament-of-Religions fame. Contains over 80 photographs and countless witness accounts of Swami Vivekananda.
– HIMALAYAN ACADEMY, Kapaa, HI
- 40 -
MILESTONES IN THE PUBLICATION 1985: A happy coincidence, the editing of the book commenced in 1979, was completed in the 'International Youth Year‟, when the Government of India thoughtfully declared the birthday of Swami Vivekananda as the „National Youth Day‟, recognizing the fact that „his philosophy and the ideals for which he had lived and worked could be an abiding source of inspiration for the youth.‟ 1986: The First Edition of the book was released on the 123rd Birthday of Swami Vivekananda, during the celebration at the Vivekananda College, Mylapore, Madras. The book was released by the then Governor of Madras, S. L. Khurana, and Swami Ranganathanandaji received the first copy of the book. 1988: The Second Edition coincided with the 125th birthanniversary of Swami Vivekananda. 1992: The Third Edition was brought out in the context of the centenary of Swami Vivekananda's Bharat Parikrama, the 100th year of his perigrinations all over India, as a wandering monk, prior to his departure to the West, to participate in the World's Parliament of Religions at Chicago in 1893. 1993: The Fourth Edition was brought out in the context of the centenary of Swami Vivekananda's historic Chicago Address in 1893. In his Benediction to this edition, Swami Ranganathananda wrote: “I have gone through the First Edition (Oct. 1986)…. I have also received a copy of the Second Edition (Aug. 1988). It is a well brought out book, and there is much appreciation from persons and reviewers. Now I am happy to know that an International Edition of this book under the new title “Vivekananda -- A Comprehensive Study”, with an additional part entitled “Vivekananda – A Voice from Across the Century”, is being brought out in the context of Swami Vivekananda's appearance at the World‟s Parliament of Religions at Chicago (1893). I wish this - 41 -
valuable compendium on the spiritual ministry of Swami Vivekananda a wide circulation in America and in the rest of the Western world." In this context, the Editor of the volume had the privilege of attending the „Global Vision 2000‟ Program at Washington, and the „Parliament of Religions‟ at Chicago (Aug.-Sept. 1993). The International edition of the book was introduced in both the programs, held in commemoration of the centenary of Swamiji‟s appearance at the World‟s Parliament of Religions at Chicago. It was well received and widely welcomed as a reference work on Swami Vivekananda. 2000: The Fifth Edition (revised and enlarged) coincided with the UN Millennium World Peace Summit of Religious and Spiritual Leaders (Aug. 28-31, 2000), at New York, and was released during the program in which the author participated. 2002: During the centenary of Swami Vivekananda's Mahaasamaadhi, it was offered as an e-book, with an audiovisual Presentation on Swamiji. 2013: The present Sixth Edition (enlarged) is in the context of the historic 150th Birth Anniversary of Swamiji
- 42 -
THE AUTHOR Swami Jyotirmayananda hails from Kasaragod, Kerala, in South India. He had his schooling and college studies at the Mangalore Ramakrishna Mission Students Home. He got the mantra diksha in 1966 while serving in a firm in Madras, from Swami Vireswarananda, the Tenth President of the Ramakrishna Order. He joined the Vivekananda Kendra, Kanyakumari, in 1973, and after a few years of service, took to monastic life independently in 1976. His work on Swami Vivekananda (www.vivekananda gospel.org) chronicles the important events in the life and times of Swamiji, and highlights his mission and the message to the world. The first edition of the book was published in 1986, and the fifth edition was released at New York, in the context of the UN Millennium World Peace Summit 2000. Later, it was also made available as an e-book, with an audiovisual presentation on Swamiji, in the context of the 100th year of his Mahaasamadhi (2002). “India‟s Gift to the World is the Light Spiritual – Understanding India, Its Culture and Sanatana Dharma” is a collection of his papers and articles. The papers were presented at various indological conferences in the U.S.A., and the articles published in brochures, from time to time, for different programs in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. The book also contains his article published in India Tribune, Chicago, and another article compiled from the writings of Swamiji. His other works/translation include “Hanuman Chalisa and Ashtaka” (with 'Glory of Sri Hanuman, the Glory of Hanuman Chalisa and the Glory of Ramanam.'); “Beloved Mother Amritanandamayi – A Sketch”; and “A Pilgrim Guide to Some Holy Places of Dakshina Kannada and Around.” He has been visiting the U.S. regularly and participating in various conferences and forums, since 1993, when the centenary of the Parliament of World Religions was held in - 43 -
Chicago, and the „Global Vision 2000‟, Washington (1993); later „UN Millennium World Peace Summit of Religious and Spiritual Leaders‟, New York (2000); „Vedanta in the Third Millennium‟ Conference, Vivekananda Vedanta Society, Chicago (2001); the „Vishwa Dharma Prasaar Yaatra‟ (2001), Chicago. In early July 2004, he also participated in the „Konkani Sammelan‟ at Los Angeles. He was one of the Program Coordinators of the „Dharma Summit‟ convened by Swami Dayananda Saraswati and held at the Rutgers University, New Jersey (Aug. 13-15, 2005); and a Coordination Committee Member, Hindu Dharma Acharya Sabha Second Convention, Mumbai (October 16, 17 & 18, 2005). His web page www.vivekanandagospel.org mainly deals with his publication, while the blog (www.vivekajyoti.blogspot.com) is a resource on various issues concerning the Hindu Dharma and the Samaj. He can be reached at swamijyoti @vivekanandagospel.org ================================================================
His Other Works:
1. India’s Gift to the World is the Light Spiritual – Understanding India, Its Culture and Sanatana Dharma (comprising papers presented in various Indological conferences in the U.S., from 2002-2010) 2. Hanuman Chalisa and Ashtaka (Original text with transliteration and Hindi and English Translations); Also the Glory of Sri Hanuman, the Glory of Hanuman Chalisa and the Glory of Ramanam 3. Beloved Mother Amritanandamayi – A Sketch 4. A Pilgrim Guide to Some Holy Places in Dakshina Kannada and Around ================================================================
- 44 -
‘India Tribune’, Chicago, On The Author By Frank Parlato Jr (January 11, 2003)
Swami Jyotirmayananda says success is “self-fulfillment.” It need not be pleasurable or materially rewarding. From Chennai, he comes, travelling the US – from New York to California – as did he in India, as a wanderer, preaching the gospel of Swami Vivekananda. Swami Jyotirmayananda has, literally, no home, no possessions. “The sky, thy roof, the grass, thy bed.” His is the song of the sannyasin. He has neither wealth, nor retinue, nor fame, yet dares he to say what is success? Said Yudhistira, “Follow the path the great have trodden.” Jyotirmayananda follows the monk who changed the East and West, Vivekananda, who introduced Hinduism and Yoga to America, and inspired Indians to a renewed appreciation of their spiritual heritage. Swami Jyotirmayananda‟s book, “Vivekananda – His Gospel of Man-making,” is now in its fifth edition. He has, through it, become well known – though the monk would not call that “success.” Vivekananda said: “That desire for fame is the most of all filth”. But, Jyotirmayananda‟s book is becoming famous. That is success. Born in 1945, in a purohit family, in Kerala, after his school and college studies in Mangalore, he worked at a firm in Madras, then as lay worker for the Vivekananda Kendra. In 1976, he became a monk. Three years of itinerant life led him to conceive an idea to chronicle the life and times of Vivekananda, to offer a glimpse of his personality, and his gospel of “Man-making.” But he had no practical means to start. Then, while wandering in Kerala, he met Mother Krishnabai at Anandashram (www.anandashram.org). She unexpectedly offered him money. With this sum, he embarked upon a fiveyear task of writing his book, sustaining himself on 100 rupees ($2.00) a month. - 45 -
When finished, he went to a printing press in Madras, asking them to print his 2000-page manuscript. They said to the unknown monk, “Where's the money?” Crestfallen, he veered, made a flier about his book, then spent another year soliciting 800 pre-publication orders. His first edition was published in 1986. The Governor of Madras released it; the first copy was accepted by Swami Ranganathananda of the Ramakrishna Order. He offered a copy to the Mother, who blessed it. The book sold out. Later, when he offered her all the proceeds, Krishnabai would not accept, since it came, she said, from his dedication. He used the money for a second edition. When that too sold out, he returned with a greater sum. But Mother Krishnabai was no more. Jyotirmayananda donated every rupee to her ashram for the feeding of the poor. He was “joyously” among the poor. His 988-page book has been reviewed by leading writers and scholars. Prime Minister A. B. Vajpayee has it in his library. It graces some 500 university libraries in 50 US States, and 5,000 libraries in India. He attended the UN World Peace Summit (2000) as one of the 100 spiritual leaders of India, has given scholarly and critical audiences, as also to the youth of the West. Swami Ranganathananda, president of the Ramakrishna Order, wrote his book should be “in every library”. Renowned journalist M. V. Kamath wrote: “There has never has been a book like this before, and it is unlikely that there will be another like this again”. Around the world, monks have praised it. But “success” came mainly of struggle. The vicissitudes of fortune caused him pain, as well as pleasure: the printer who failed deadlines, a Christian copy editor who deleted Vivekananda‟s criticism of missionaries, a theft, rain damage, transporting books to US at tremendous cost, and struggling to dispose them as a stranger in a strange land. Twenty-two years on one project, never accumulating, donating the proceeds again and again. Miraculously, it seemed, successive editions were brought out. - 46 -
His journey is measured almost by his beard grown long and white with time. In his ochre robe, he looks like a patriarch out of Levant. The fifth edition has sold out; he donated all to the poor. Now, the poverello again awaits the will of God. Dedicating his life to Vivekananda, in poverty and in chastity – he calls this success. “To succeed,” said Vivekananda, “you must have tremendous perseverance, tremendous will, „I will drink the ocean‟, says the persevering soul, „at my will mountains will crumble,‟ have that sort of energy, that sort of will; work hard and you will reach the goal.” By this definition, the mendicant, Jyotirmayananda has succeeded – in these cynical times – tremendously well. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org Frank Parlato Jr is a syndicated journalist whose work has appeared in more than 100 publications worldwide. He writes this column exclusively for the India Tribune. He may be reached at email@example.com =============================================================
Copies available at: SRI RAMAKRISHNA MATH
31, Ramakrishna Math Road Mylapore, Chennai-600004 Ph: 044-24621110, Fax: 24934589 firstname.lastname@example.org www.sriramakrishanamath.org
ARSHA VIDYA GURUKULAM
Anaikatti P.O., Coimbatore Tamil Nadu-641 108 Phone: 91-422-2657001, 91-9442646701 Fax: 0422-2657002 Email: email@example.com
Vivekanandapuram Kanyakumari-629702 Ph: 4652-247012, Fax: 247177 firstname.lastname@example.org www.vkendra.org
BHARATHEEYA VICHARA KENDRAM „Samskriti Bhavan‟, GPO Lane Thiruvananthapuram-698 001 Tele-Fax: 0471-2461567 email@example.com www.vicharakendram.org
RASHTROTTHANA SAHITYA Kempegowda Nagar Bangalore-560019 Tel: 080-26612730/31/32 Fax: 080-26610916 firstname.lastname@example.org www.rashtrotthana.org
- 48 -